"What's fair is fair."
But somewhat surprisingly, D'Antoni did not take umbrage with Cleveland coach Mike Brown's not-so-subtle shot at the Knicks' style of play. After the Cavs hammered the Knicks by 31 points, Brown said: "I'm not a fan of those old Sacramento, old Dallas and old Phoenix teams. The success of that formula in the playoffs is not very high."
Told of Brown's comments, D'Antoni noted that the Cavs are trying to win in a more traditional way, emphasizing defense.
"That's his philosophy, and it's worked, but they haven't won a title yet, you know?" he said. "But everybody has a way they coach and what they think works."
Despite the Kni
cks' results since he has been in New York, D'Antoni still believes in his system, which helped Phoenix win at least 60 games twice and helped the Suns make to back-to-back trips to the Western Conference finals.
But as well as he did with two-time MVP Steve Nash, D'Antoni often came under fire for using a system that never got the postseason stops to reach a Finals. With the Knicks headed toward another 50-loss season, there are questions whether D'Antoni's system will work in New York, even if the Knicks can attract marquee free agents such as LeBron James and Chris Bosh this summer.
"Different people have different philosophies, but (Brown) is right - we never got past San Antonio," D'Antoni said.
Brown was with the Spurs as an assistant to Gregg Popovich for three seasons, including the 2003 championship team that defeated the Nets.
But rather than chalk up Brown's remarks to being on the staff of a former rival, D'Antoni did admit that his team's defensive shortcomings prevented the Suns from getting to a Game 7 in the West finals.
"Obviously, if we could have played better defense, we'd have been better," he said. "It's not like we didn't try. We did. We were just honed to our offensive talents. I think we maximized them and we had a real good chance to beat San Antonio two or three times and we did not do it. So it's on us."